Tomorrow's display tech isn't quite ready for prime-time
A few of the things I have had to do in order to get a workable version of HDR (also known as high dynamic range), the new-ish display technology that significantly ramps up brightness, darkness and vibrancy, on my PC (not including the acquisition of a fancy monitor):
– Try four different display cables
– Adjust as many as seven different brightness/contrast/colour etc shaders per game. (I have spent long, unhappy hours doing this to date)
– Manually turn on HDR on the monitor, manually turn HDR on in Windows then manually turn on HDR in the game settings. Or sometimes HDR off in Windows but on in the game then alt-tab back to Windows and turn HDR on, and off, and on, and off. Or sometimes alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab and alt-tab until HDR suddenly, randomly kicks in. When I exit the game, I have to manually turn it all back off again or Windows is unusable.
– Install an unfinished preview build of Windows 10 whose HDR isn’t totally broken on Nvidia cards.
– Almost completely lose my sense of whether anything is actually different after all of this.
The egg yolks in Final Fantasy XV were a bit shinier, though.
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Can the Creators Update really help games?
Microsoft chucked out the Windows 10 Creators Update this week, which is the sort of thing that true-blue enthusiasts of IBM-Compatible home computers used to call a Service Pack back in the day. It’s a surprisingly game-focused update in its way, a built-in streaming service (akin to Twitch, only inevitably far less popular) known as Beam, a concerted effort to put all its game-related settings into one place and Game Mode – a new setting that, in theory, can boost game performance.
We talked to Microsoft about their own hopes for Game Mode a couple of months back, but now it’s time to see what – if anything – it does in practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Can a new option in your OS really improve performance?
Just last week (and yet somehow an eternity ago, in terms of world events), Microsoft announced that they’d soon be adding something called ‘Game Mode’ to Windows 10 with the aim of improving games’ performance, but gave away few details about what this might involve. Are we talking real framerate gains, suppressing potentially bothersome background tasks or just freeing up a wee bit of RAM?
With the first iteration of Game Mode due to arrive as part of Windows 10’s optional early Insider builds due today, I had a chat with Kevin Gammill, Partner Group Program Manager, Xbox Platform, spokesperson for the group building Game Mode, to find out what this thing actually does, which games it will support and what kind of control users will have over it. Read the rest of this entry »